Transfer: Luke Schenn Heads Back To the Leafs

By: Trent Leith / February 28, 2023  

Luke Schenn has finally been traded. On Tuesday afternoon there was a flurry of trades that had hockey fans from all corners of the NHL wondering if they accidentally slept from Monday night to Friday morning and didn’t notice. The Canucks have been one of the most active teams in the NHL leading up to Friday’s deadline, and they didn’t slow down on Tuesday when the Canucks sent Luke Schenn to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2023 third-round pick.

Luke Schenn has been a healthy scratch since Feb 21st for trade-related reasons, and those reasons came to a head on Tuesday. Schenn is heading back to the team where it all started for him. Schenn was drafted fifth overall in 2008 by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and while he has never lived up to that draft pedigree, he has managed to carve out a niche for himself in the NHL. He has played over 900 games, leading the NHL in all-time hits.

Schenn is undoubtedly a depth player, especially on a team like Toronto which is poised to try and make a deep playoff run. Schenn is rather unique as a depth, stay-at-home defender due to his ability to play with offence-first defenders. He has proven that during two stints with Quinn Hughes in Vancouver.

As for the Canucks return, it may feel underwhelming. The rumoured ask and expected return was something around the value of a second-round pick. So a high third might feel like the Canucks fell flat. What we may never know, is what the Canucks could have got if they had waited until Friday’s deadline. But getting anything for an expiring UFA is always a start, especially for a team in Vancouver’s position at the bottom of the league.

It’s also worth noting that the Schenns are expecting their third child on deadline day, and the Canucks have been trying to move Schenn ahead of the deadline to allow the Schenns some peace of mind leading up to the birth. Luke’s wife is likely unable to fly right now, so it works out well that he was traded to Toronto as the Leafs will be in Vancouver on Saturday. Luke is expected to report to Toronto on Wednesday ahead of the game against the Oilers. Luckily for Schenn, Toronto plays Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver this week, so he won’t be too far away from his wife.

There have been rumours and little nuggets of foreshadowing from Schenn and his agent that he wants to come back to Vancouver in the summer if Vancouver will have him. So one is to wonder if the Canucks did Schenn a favour here. While Schenn certainly doesn’t have any trade protection, he has been a model player for the franchise in both stints as a Canuck. I wonder if the Canucks found a place for Schenn that he was happy with, and a price they were fine with accepting for him, in the hopes to maintain a strong relationship with the player in order to bring him back in the summer.

Hopefully, this isn’t goodbye, but rather a simple “see you at camp Luke, best of luck during your short trip to Toronto.”